Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

I Dare Me: Friday Night Oneg

As told to Elisheva Appel

They are unanimous in their opinion that no one will make fun of me or hate me forever for trying to be friendly

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

 Mishpacha image


I ntroducing...

You can take the girl out of high school, but you can’t take high school out of the girl. I may be married with kids and holding down a responsible job in an office where my co-workers value my work, but there’s a part of me that will always be absolutely convinced that I have no friends and I am flubbing every social situation.

I live in a big, bustling community where everyone is always busy. A common complaint is that people don’t know their neighbors, and it’s easy to feel lonely and anonymous (I’m one of the complainers).

But we can fix this… right? 


The Challenge

Why not host a Friday night oneg so the neighbors can get to know one another and promote community feeling? Well, mostly because going to an oneg would be hard enough for an insecure person like me, but actually hosting one is way above my pay grade. I’m not sure I’ve ever hosted a party — even for my bas mitzvah, I just went out to eat with family. I’m shy, and the thought of making myself vulnerable by inviting people into my home fills me with dread. What if no one comes? What if they all come and we sit around awkwardly trying to find something to say?

So why am I doing this to myself?

I believe in the cause. I think I, and probably many others, really would enjoy socializing a bit more without kids tugging on our skirts.

And beyond the simple objective, I want to prove to myself that I can do this. That now I’m grown-up, capable, and confident, and that my sense of self isn’t so bound up with what other people think of me… except that maybe it is.


Getting Ready

I had two critical areas to prepare: the logistical and the emotional. To get myself ready, I badger my husband and sisters nonstop for their encouragement and support. (“This is a good idea, right? No one will laugh at me?”)

They are unanimous in their opinion that no one will make fun of me or hate me forever for trying to be friendly, but my inner teenager needs a lot of convincing, which they patiently supply.

I also enlist one neighbor I know well who promises to come and be my moral support. When I realize she plans to be away for the Shabbos I want, the oneg is quickly rescheduled. No way am I doing this without having at least one person in my corner!

To mask my discomfort, I nonchalantly mention the plan to a couple of neighbors during the week leading up to the big day. Their negative reactions throw me for a loop; apparently, I am that very rare creature who isn’t asleep practically before her kids conk out on Friday nights. While they seem inclined to humor me by showing up, nobody is enthusiastic, so of course I panic. Back to the phone with my sister… “Gitty, is it offensive or inconsiderate to invite someone to your house for a Friday night oneg?” No, she insists, but I’m worried.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 584)

Related Stories

Tempo Fiction: Solo

Rivka Streicher

It comes to him there in the chilly dressing room, kicks him in the gut — what happened before he le...

Windows: Full Snack, Full Mother

C. Spira

What do you know? Every woman above the age of 40 sided with my father. They were completely unimpre...

Map the Starlight: Chapter 41

Leah Gebber

The glass is thick; cheaply made. But there is something inside it, she is sure. She holds it tight,...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

No Misunderstandings
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Hashem revealed the secret of a balanced life
What Was the Court’s Rush?
Yonoson Rosenblum The Democratic Party’s descent into madness
Survey? Oy Vey
Eytan Kobre How could YAFFED promote such a farce?
Filling the Void
Rabbi Henoch Plotnik Jewish leaders don’t need to be declared or coronated
Top 5 Ways We Remember Our Rebbeim (and we love them for it!)
Rabbi Dovid Bashevkin An ode to these pivotal people in my life
Hanging On in Newark
Rabbi Nosson Scherman Rabbi Nosson Scherman remembers the shul of his youth
A Fine Kettle of Fish
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman The “minor” chasadim are often the most meaningful
The Next Hill
Jacob L. Freedman The look on Malachi’s face nearly broke my heart
Tradition and Modern Meet in One Long Dance
Riki Goldstein Fusing tradition and modernity comes naturally to him
A Playlist for Shabbos
Riki Goldstein What does Moshy Kraus sing at the Shabbos table?
With Flying Colors
Riki Goldstein My 15 seconds of fame on the Carnegie Hall stage
Full Faith
Faigy Peritzman With emunah, everyone’s obligation is the same
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Silence isn’t always golden
The Only One
With Rav Moshe Wolfson, written by Baila Vorhand Within every Jew is the flame of instinctive emunah